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Science Progressing: Stem Cell Organs, Environmental Regulations, and China’s First Female Astronaut

Science Progressing is your weekly guide to the science and technology policy news you should not have missed. Did we leave anything out? Tweet or facebook us and let us know.

Stem Cells Allow Flexibility in Organ Transplantation
Stem cells reduce immune responses. In some cases, the patient’s own stem cells can be used to make a new organ.

EPA Clamping Down on Soot
Despite Republican and industry protests, the EPA proposed a new, lower mandated concentration for soot. The EPA was compelled to release a rule by a court order following a suit filed by 11 states and the American Lung Association.

Biofuels and the Navy
Even as a report by Rand, a think tank, bashes the idea of subsidizing biofuels in the Navy, research into algae-based biofuels promises lower costs.

Advocating for Montana’s Research
Cuts in federal research funding will slash 1,000 jobs from Montana’s economy and severely hamper life-saving research from progressing.

DOE and NSF pledge $27 Million to Boost Computing Power
Several universities and research centers have agreed to share computing power such that each can tap others’ computing power. The $27 million pledged will added to the consortium’s overall computing power. The partnership and grant recognize the ever increasing need for greater computing power for contemporary research.

The Cost of Not Acting
The approval of the Sapien Transcatheter Heart Valve increases survival rates for patients suffering from severe aortic valve stenosis by 20%, and has been used in Europe since 2007. But the FDA has still not approved this technology for use in the United States.

China’s First Female Astronaut
Liu Yang, a former fighter pilot and China’s first female astronaut, left for space this week.

Lots of Carbon Key to Oil Production in Algae
The prevailing dogma in algae research was that growth and oil production could not occur at the same time. DOE researchers have instead discovered that the secret to this problem is feeding algae so much carbon, they stop producing starch and begin to produce oil.

Canadian Government Shift threatens Fish Biodiversity
Three scientists have criticized the Canadian government’s decision to decrease the protection of fish. For the government, the accusations awkwardly coincide with the Rio+20 Convention on sustainability. The scientists claim the current standards do not hamper farming.

Ice Study Confirms Ice Plays Role in Climate Change
An international coalition of scientists confirmed ice plays a definitive role in influencing the climate.

Crowdfunding Science
Mary Rogalski is funding her thesis on lake pollution, not through a grant, but through the pooled money of many who view her research as valuable through a site called #SciFund Challenge.

DOE Builds Solar Momentum
The DOE’s SunShot Program, inspired by JFK’s “Moon Shot” program, spurs development in solar by offering $8 million to companies who come up with the best solutions to cut solar delivery costs. The DOE also announced $37 million to build three solar plants that will produce super efficient solar cells.

IBM’s SuperMUC is Super Efficient
The SupmerMUC computer, Europe’s fastest computer, uses 40% less energy by using a water coolant. The new system was developed in part because of green regulations in Germany. As described by Phys.Org: “Three billion people using a pocket calculator would have to perform one million operations per second each to reach equivalent SuperMUC performance.”

Tianjin is China’s first “Eco-City.”
The Tianjin “Eco-City” is mostly ecological in comparison to Beijing and Shanghai, which were built without sustainability in mind. Tianjin’s buildings will be decorated with solar panels and heavily insulated. Sixty percent of household waste will be recycled. In a country in which natural resources are scarce, Tianjin is a step in a direction to ensure that these resources are not squandered.

This weeks news compiled and summarized by Sam Finegold.

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